CEQ Issues Final Rule on NEPA Changes

July 28 2020

On July 16, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality issued its Final Rule on changes to the National Environmental Policy Act. The rule was developed under the Trump administration’s NEPA modernization initiative. The Final Rule updates regulations for all Federal agencies to implement NEPA, with big picture takeaways including: how CEQ defines actions that are “reasonably foreseeable,” analysis of a “reasonable range and number” of feasible alternatives, time limits for preparation environmental impact statements (EISs) (2 years) and environmental assessments (EAs) (1 year), page limits for EISs and EAs, and preparation of a single EIS and schedule for multi-agency EISs.

As noted by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials in an excellent publicly-available summary (https://aashtojournal.org/2020/07/17/trump-administration-formally-overhauls-nepa-rule/), the Final Rule also includes additional provisions that call for earlier public input and greater use of information-sharing technology in the review process, enhanced participation opportunities for tribal governments, and use of NEPA documents prepared by state, tribal, and local agencies.

3e can help clients understand how these changes may affect their NEPA projects, and how to prepare effective and legally-defensible documents that comply with the new rules. Contact us with your questions at: https://www.eee-consulting.com/contact

Link to CEQ Final Rule and Trump administration NEPA Modernization process are found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/nepa-modernization/